‘The Pittsburgh Young Workers League Is On The Job’ by Max Salzman from Young Worker. Vol. 4 No. 27. August 1, 1925.

‘The Pittsburgh Young Workers League Is On The Job’ by Max Salzman from Young Worker. Vol. 4 No. 27. August 1, 1925.

SITUATED in the heart of the blackest seat of reaction in America, our Young Workers League here is well on the way towards building a mass organiaztion. The matter of building a mass organiaztion is not one of merely bringing in new members, but of carrying on a kind of activity that will convince the young workers that our league is the leader in its struggle. A brief review of its major activities in the last six months will give one an idea of how to carry on mass work.

The first step towards mass activity began when the Pittsburgh league began its drive against the D.L. Clark Candy company which exploits hundreds of young workers. The drive began with an article in the Young’ Worker exposing the conditions in the shop. After this was sold the bosses compelled every employe to sign a statement that the article was untrue and told of the beauty of working for D.L. Clark’s. In answer to this the league issued a leaflet called “Sweets for the Boss—Bitterness for You,” in which the statements of the bosses were answered. These leaflets were enthusiastically received by the young workers who had just been laid off and by most of those remaining in the shop.

The result of the drive was that the bosses published a full page of pictures in one of the Pittsburgh Sunday papers showing the “healthy and beautiful” conditions the young workers worked under. They also had a long story telling of how “nice” the conditions were. But this did not stop the young workers in the shop from realizing their miserable conditions. The result was that all the workers were laid off and an entirely new working staff hired.

Our comrades here have a nucleus working in a pants factory which has done very good work in the way of fighting for better working conditions. At this time our comrades of this nucleus, who thru their union and other sources have established connections with young workers in other pants factories are preparing to carry on an energetic campaign to draw into the league other young workers on the basis of the fight the Young Workers League is making to improve the conditions in the industry.

Our comrades also are in the process of organizing another nucleus in one of the large department stores in Pittsburgh. Thru the efforts of our comrades a local of the Retail Clerks’ Union has been organized in Pittsburgh and because of the active participation of our members this local is growing rapidly. They have also prepared the ground for the organzatlon of a local of the fancy leather goods workers who heretofore had not been organized.

In the capmaking industry, our Young Workers League comrades began a fight in the union to lower the hours of labor of the girls who are not in the union. The men who are in the union are working 44 hours per week. The girls who are not in the union had been working 49. The result of the fight of our comrades is that the girls, too, are working but 44 hours per week, and the boss’ has lost the right to hire and fire these girls even tho they are not in the union. Not being satisfied with these initial successes, our comrades are carrying on an energetic struggle to have these girls made full fledged members of the union and from all indications they will succeed.

The Pittsburgh league has not at all lagged behind in the drive to increase the circulation of the Young Worker. It is the only city with a quota of 50 subs or more that has gotten more than its quota. To date the comrades have 62 subs, and the comrades feel sure that they will win the Y.C.I. banner by having more than 100 subs before the drive is over. One of the comrades, a young girl of 16, deserves special mention for her work in this drive. She alone has gotten 22 subs for the Young Worker and everyone has been gotten from a worker. And she is not finished yet either. It looks as tho this comrade will also get the first prize for the individual number of subs received. This comrade has gotten more subs herself than many of the leagues even with a larger membership than Pittsburgh, have gotten. Pittsburgh is a smoky city, but it certainly has not in any way stopped our league from going forward.

At this time the comrades are in front of the steel mills almost every day, selling and distributing copies of the Young Worker to the young workers as they come out of the mill gate. Thru talking to these workers comrades have established many connections with the young steel workers that will prove very valuable in the future.

Good connections have also been established with some of the young Negro workers, who are being drawn into the league thru the energetic activity of our comrades. We will certainly hear more from Pittsburgh on this in the future.

But our comrades are by no means satisfied with this. They want to do more work, and they are preparing for ii now. They are now getting ready for a drive on Heinz, who with their 57 varieties of food, have also 57 and many more varieties of exploiting the many hundreds of young workers who are employed there.

Pittsburgh might be the seat of reaction and have a dark outlook, but our Young Workers League is bringing in a ray of light that is encouraging, not only the league comrades, but all the comrades of the party as well. The comrades attribute the success in their work to a militant membership which carried out the program and suggestions of the N.E.C.

The Young Worker was produced by the Young Workers League of America beginning in 1922. The name of the Workers Party youth league followed the name of the adult party, changing to the Young Workers (Communist) League when the Workers Party became the Workers (Communist) Party in 1926. The journal was published monthly in Chicago and continued until 1927. Editors included Oliver Carlson, Martin Abern, Max Schachtman, Nat Kaplan, and Harry Gannes.

PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/youngworker/v04n27-aug-01-1925-yw-opt.pdf

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